Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

OUR VIEW: Let's drug test welfare users (poll)

WAYNE LAUGESEN Updated: August 10, 2011 at 12:00 am

Perhaps we should test welfare recipients for drugs. Heck, do it for the economy.

Much of what distorts markets, and runs our economy into the ground, is welfare. Since July, Florida has used a new tactic in its war on welfare. It enforces a law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott in June, that forces adults who apply for help from the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program to pass drug tests. More people who want to abuse drugs will do so with their own money. The law was championed by taxpayers who cannot stand the thought of subsidizing drug abusers.

The law will reduce welfare dependence. Drug abusers will either get denied assistance or will avoid seeking it.

Congress and the president should consider a similar program on a national scale in order to reduce welfare consumption and prevent the potential misuse of funds. Imagine if our biggest welfare dependents declined seeking assistance because they didn’t want to pee in a cup.

The savings could be huuuuge.

Don’t take this wrong. We don’t want government to begin with drug tests on single mothers who seek to feed children. We want to start at the top, and save big money.

Do what Florida has done to those who head welfare families, only do it with those who head government-fed corporations. Before bailing out AIG types, at a cost of $180-plus billion, at the very least demand drug tests on the CEO and board. The taxpayer has a right to know that anyone given billions will manage the public funds in a state of complete sobriety and obedience to law.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) is a cash assistance program for families who are in need and on the verge of financial collapse. Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is a cash assistance program for corporations in need and on the verge of financial collapse. The two welfare programs are practically identical, except in size. The Heritage Foundation lamented in 2009 that federal welfare spending on families and individuals would exceed $600 billion. By contrast, TARP and other corporate welfare bailouts cost us trillions that year.

Do CEOs abuse drugs, like some TANF recipients do? Undoubtedly, some do. That’s why rehabs on the Internet advertise to CEOs who have gold-plated health benefits.

(Drug tests for welfare users? Vote to the right. Must vote to see results. Thanks!)

“In this challenging economic environment, more and more CEOs are under fire — meaning that more will look to escape or cope with their stress through the use of illicit substances,” says a clearinghouse of drug rehab clinics.

Perhaps nothing has done more to skew our markets and hurt the economy than our country’s long history of lavish corporate welfare. Taxpayers build stadiums for billionaires who should be asked to give some urine. From banking, to cars, to pig farms to windmill farms, government picks corporate winners and lavishes them with welfare. Their competitors get taxed and regulated into the ground.

If drug tests discourage welfare in Florida, they can curb corporate welfare nationwide. A vial of urine isn’t much to ask in return for millions and billions in taxpayer sweat.

Friend editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen on Facebook, follow him on Twitter

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